Roger Donald Fairbanks, age 74 of Juneau died peacefully in Eatonville, Wash., on Jan. 29, 2011, surrounded by his wife and family after a hard-fought battle against lung cancer.
He was born in Minneapolis on Nov. 15, 1936 to the late Eugene and Jonette Fairbanks. Growing up in Minnesota, Roger especially enjoyed fishing with his father and brother Robert. As a youngster he often worked as a sport fishing guide on local lakes.
Roger’s love of snowmobiling and fishing eventually lured him and his brother to Alaska in the winter of 1969 to compete in the first “Midnight Sun 600” snowmobile race from Anchorage to Fairbanks. While waiting in Haines for the ferry Malaspina to Seattle, Roger vowed to return — arriving in Haines with his family in 1971, and eventually moving to Juneau in 1980. He bought his first gillnetter, the Shamrock, in 1972 and owned several other fishing vessels during the next 30-plus years. Whenever possible, his wife or children fished with him and were his favorite crew.
Roger is survived by his beloved wife of 45 years Barbara (Conover) Fairbanks; his sons Todd A. Fairbanks of Detroit Lakes, Minn. and Michael J. Fairbanks of Juneau; daughters Melinda Jeanne Fairbanks of Juneau and Jody K. Salo (Jim) of Eatonville; his brother Robert D. Fairbanks (Connie) of Chugiak; grandchildren Joshua, Rachael, Bethshauna, Jonathon, and Sayla of Kenniwick, Wash.; granddaughter Kylee of Juneau; and grandson Christopher Hendrickson of Colorado Springs, Colo.
A memorial service and celebration of Roger’s life will be held at the Juneau Moose Lodge April 9.